Turkish baths in Ireland

 

Dublin: Lower Temple Street

 

                                         

This is a single frame, printer-friendly page taken from Malcolm Shifrin's website

Victorian Turkish Baths: their origin, development, and gradual decline

        

Original page with chronology and notes

List of other Turkish baths in Ireland
 

 

  

Turkish baths

 

Revision in progress

Since this article was originally published, further information has come to hand. Consequently the article is in the process of being corrected and revised. The new version will appear in due course and, when it is published, this note will be removed.

 

This was one of the first Victorian Turkish baths to be established in Ireland, and seems to have been the first one not to have been set up under the aegis of Dr Barter.

But there is a slight problem in that, apart from the directory entries reproduced in the chronology above, very little is known about the establishment. In particular, it is not known exactly what type of hot air bath it was—even though it was originally called a 'Turkish' bath.

We know that soon after it opened it was visited by W B B Scriven, a mechanical engineer by profession, who described it as  '... small but good' in an article published in 1860 in a homeopathic journal. Initially, the establishment probably was modelled on Barter's 'Improved' Turkish bath in that the hot air was dry rather than humid.*  But as we don't know Scriven's views about the value, or otherwise, of humid air we cannot assume that he approved of the bath because the air was dry.

The doubt about whether this was a Barter-type Victorian Turkish bath arises from the conclusions to be drawn from an article by an anonymous writer in the Dublin University Magazine who claimed 'upwards of thirty years in the use of baths of this [?] kind'.

He described what he called the 'thermal bath' which was in use in this establishment and, summing up, he writes:

The thermal bath, which is the safest and most agreeable to the sensations, is that in which the hot dry air of the common Turkish bath is modified by a jet d'eau descending in a fine shower in the centre of the bath, as seen in the bath establishment in Temple-street; where the medicated vapour bath, enclosing the patient under a canopy, is in use. By these arrangements, the greatest advantages without the slightest risk are obtained.

This would seem to indicate that amongst the facilities provided, there was a hot air bath which was at least humid. But whether this was in addition to a normal Turkish bath, or whether it was actually what Hugh Gillis, the then manager, called a Turkish bath, is not known.

Major Poore, close political colleague of David Urquhart and later to be the largest shareholder in the London & Provincial Turkish Bath Co Ltd, visited these baths in 1863, but unfortunately nothing has been found to indicate what he thought of them.

 


This account should be treated as work in progress. Further research is needed to fill in further information about what type of baths they were, how they were used, and how long they survived.


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Victorian Turkish Baths: their origin, development, and gradual decline

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